How Genuine Faith Is Formed

suffering, 1 Peter 1: 3-9, faithHave you ever said to yourself “I don’t like this, I don’t understand why it’s happening and I wish it would go away!”  If you are like me then you have likely uttered similar statements or had similar thoughts on more than one occasion.  It seems to be part of our human condition to face adversity and to be in the midst of difficult circumstances no matter who you are or where you might be.

From a Christian perspective, we should understand it is Sin (notice the capital “S”, as in the fallen state of all creation) that is the root cause of the trials that we face but that knowledge doesn’t necessarily help us cope.  No, we need more than knowledge of the problem to stand firm and strong in our faith when we are facing a trial.  We need that constant connection to God the Father through the Holy Spirit in prayer and meditation on His Word, the Bible.

And the Bible, being one of the first and most important places to go in our distress, has a lot to say about the problems we face during this life.  In the 1st Book of Peter, we find the following:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith,being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NKJV)

I’ve included verses three through nine because they form a complete thought and need to be read and understood together but take a closer look at verses six through nine.  In the midst of our rejoicing (because of what is coming and is yet to be revealed, God’s ultimate gift to us!) we might be grieved (troubled) by various trials, if need be.  And why would we need to be troubled?  What purpose is served by the problems we face and then overcome with God’s help?

Genuine faith!  God works through all circumstance, good or bad, to produce in us a genuine faith that is more precious than gold and has as its goal the praise, honor and glory of God.  And what is the end of that faith?  What is the sum total of all that God is working in and through us?  The salvation of our souls and eternity with our savior.

Something that is genuine is true.  It is the real deal.  When placed under stress its true colors shine forth and there is nothing fake or artificial about it.  If it’s real, God knows it and people can see it in us.  Can people see a real and genuine faith in me?  Can they see it in you?

To get to that point of having a real and genuine faith we are going to have to go through some things that we might not like and that might be painful.  During those times it is only natural to search for answers.  As we are searching, I pray we would remember the Apostle Peter’s words to us as recorded in First Peter verses three through nine.  God’s still working on us.  He’s not finished yet.  Hang in there and keep the goal in sight.  It will be well worth it all.